Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Question & Answer Interview with Sanctuary, Incorporated Executive Director Millie Lujan

1.    What is your mission (goals & objectives) at Sanctuary?
Simply stated, Sanctuary’s mission is “Helping Youth and Families Help Themselves.” 

2.     What specific services does Sanctuary provide?
Over the course of 42 years Sanctuary’s services have grown to address the needs of the island.  Services include:
·         COED Emergency Shelter
·         24 Hour Crisis Hotline
·         Transitional Living Program
·         Sagan Na’Homlo Residential Treatment Program (for adolescents needing inpatient drug and alcohol treatment)
·         Various outpatient treatment programs
·         Permanent Housing Program
·         Youth and Adult Anger Management Groups
·         Parent Support/Parenting Skills Groups
·         Street Outreach Program
·         AmeriCorps Program (Largest on Island)
·         Outreach and Aftercare Case Management
·         Internship and Practicum Placement/Supervision
·         Family Wellness, Active Relationships, and Relationship Intelligence psycho-educational groups

3.     Who is your target audience?
Sanctuary programs are designed for youth and families of youth between the ages of 12 and 24. Age is the major qualifying factor for all programs.

4.     What are your hours of operation and what is the best way for people to reach you that are interested in assistance?
Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm.  The main office number is 475-7101.  However, the 24 hour crisis hotline number is 475-7100; offering crisis response 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

5.     In addition to direct services, what resources does Sanctuary offer?
Sanctuary has many relationships with community organizations as well as governmental agencies.  Referrals to and from other services offered on the island are very common.  In addition to this, our team of professionals can be seen giving training and presentations at various community events, in schools, and for governmental agencies such as GDOE and DYA.  Furthermore, Sanctuary hosts an annual parent/child conference, the annual Youth Fest, and the Blue Carpet Gala.

6.     Thinking about current events, how do you foresee recent events in your field of work affecting your organization and its work?
The short answer is financial strain.  Most non-profits have been affected by the growing financial crisis locally and internationally; Sanctuary is no exception.  There is an increasing need for services and diminishing funding resources. 

7.  Can you discuss your community partnerships and how they contribute to the overall success of Sanctuary individually.
As stated earlier, Sanctuary is fortunate to have good working relationships with many other human services organization on the island.  Without these partnerships and relationships, getting our clients the services they need will be really tedious.  Keeping good working relationships ensures that we offer our clients all the services that they can benefit from and be able to do so in a timely manner.
8.       Can you touch on the history of Sanctuary and how the organization is set up?
Sanctuary was founded in 1971 by Father Robert Phelps and Mr. Louis Martinez as an alternative to the Juvenile Justice System.  We aim at providing the social services youth and families need before they are entangled in the governmental “systems.”  In 1971 there were seven host families that would take in homeless, runaway, and victims of abuse.  Prior to Sanctuary, homeless and runaway youth, as well as victims of abuse, were housed in the Youth Correctional Facility. 

9.     Any upcoming plans or projects that our island community should be aware of?
Island Wide Youth Fest will be held on April 5th at Sagan Bisita in Agat.  Also, upcoming events are advertised on our website.  www.sanctuaryguam.org

10.  Why do you think the work you do is important to our island community and the world at large?
Without Sanctuary, there will be many gaps in the “system.”  The different types of services we offer are additional to what is available through the government.  We are but a link in the continuum of care chain that the youth of Guam can hang onto.

11.  Lastly, could you please provide any current relevant statistics that you have.
Many are surprised to learn of the different statistics within the organization and that of the entire island population.  Some of these include:
·         About 40% of the homeless youth who seek shelter refuge have identified themselves as homosexual
·         Approximately 50% of elementary students do not live with both Mom and Dad
·         Nearly 40% of high school students do not have any relationships with their fathers
·         An estimated 70% of the youth who enter our drug and alcohol residential treatment have a mental health condition other than drug and alcohol use.
Sanctuary is the oldest surviving non-profit organization on the island.
Sanctuary is accredited by CARF and is the only adolescent accredited institution in the Pacific region.

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